BY JON CRONIN
Eight more women have come forward in the sexual-abuse case against former priest Adam Prochaski at Holy Cross School in Maspeth.
Rev. Adam Prochaski was recently accused of sexually abusing young girls in his car, the church, at Holy Cross school and in their homes between 1973 and 1994. The women are now between the ages of 37 and 57 years.
Linda Porcaro, who taught at Holy Cross between 1986 and 1991, and Robert Hoatson, the director of Road to Recovery, a nonprofit that helps victims of sexual abuse, said on Wednesday that the city’s Police Department and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown have opened an investigation into the matter.
A spokeswoman for the Queens DA’s office said that she could not confirm or deny ongoing investigations.
Porcaro and Hoatson stood outside Holy Cross Church on 56th Road on Oct. 11 to announce that new victims had come forward. The two also planned to hold protest signs in front of the Brooklyn Diocese’s office at 310 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn.
The parish’s school is no longer open and has been converted into a pre-K center.
Boston attorney Mitch Garabedian is one of the lawyers representing the 23 women who have accused Prochaski of abuse. In the 1990s, Garabedian represented men abused by priests in the Boston area and was later portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in the film Spotlight, which followed the Boston Globe’s investigation into the case.
In an interview with the Queens Tribune, Garabedian said that women from six states, Canada and London have come forward to allege abuse by Prochaski.
“It is my understanding that the NYPD is conducting an investigation into the activities of Adam Prochaski,” he said. “I do not know if they are investigating supervisors. I have given the names of 20 victims to the New York City Police Department. Based on my experience, more victims will come forward. Father Prochaski has probably abused hundreds upon hundreds over the course of decades.”
Porcaro said that two weeks ago, she was talking to parishioners outside the church and they recalled Prochaski as a “strange man.” During her time at the school, she said that she reported sexual-abuse allegations to the school’s administration, but nothing was done. Prochaski is no longer a priest, and Porcaro and Hoatson claim that he is now married with a family.
She added that the eight women who have recently come forward contacted her through Facebook. She then gave them Garabedian’s contact information.
“Most want justice more than money,” said Porcaro, adding that many are interested in settlements to pay for psychological therapy.
“They want to be made whole again,” said Hoatson.
Porcaro added that even more have contacted her, but as of yet, they have not chosen to speak with Garabedian.
“Any time allegations of abuse surface it is devastating to the church, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred,” said Carolyn Erstad, a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn Diocese, after news of the initial 15 victims surfaced. “The stories of the women who came forward yesterday are no different.
While the sins of the past cannot be erased, the church has enacted sweeping reform to make certain they are not repeated.”
She added that, in 2002, the diocese created “safe-environment initiatives and a zero-tolerance policy was established to ensure the protection of children and young people, and the criminal prosecution of any perpetrator.”
In June, the diocese began the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), which gives victims financial compensation.
“While the diocese understands that no amount of money can heal the scars of abuse, we hope this program will show our solidarity with survivors, help with the healing process and provide some element of closure,” Erstad added.
She invited women who came forward to take part in the program, and noted that they will not be bound to a confidentiality agreement.
“If sharing their stories publicly helps with the healing process, the diocese is in full support of that,” she concluded.
Ikimulisa Livingston, a spokeswoman for the Queens DA’s office, said that the DA had reached out to the Brooklyn Diocese in 2002 and asked for all its information on previous sexual allegations.
“The allegations were reviewed by the experienced career prosecutors of our Special Victims Bureau. Unfortunately, all of the allegations dated back many years—even decades—and, therefore, were not prosecutable within the statute of limitations,” Livingston told the Queens Tribune.
She added that “as both a parent and prosecutor,” Brown wanted Bishop Thomas Daily to speak to the diocese’s congregants and convey the message that “the days of silence are behind us.”
Reach Editor Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin.